I am in Shanghai to provide training for my new team. It's been a great trip so far. Lots of interesting things to see and experience. The flight to Beijing was long ~12 hours and then another flight to Shanghai that was ~2 hours. The LAST thing I wanted to do was get on another plane.
I can now cross off one thing I have always wanted to experience: Arriving at an airport and having someone waiting with your name on a sign. I wish I had thought to take a picture, but I was so tired. It was really cool to walk down the hallway and hear Chinese all around and look up to see my name and a smiling face waiting for me.
We jumped in the car and drove about an hour to my hotel. This was a life-altering experience. Traffic lights and lanes in China or at least in Shanghai are OPTIONAL or maybe they are just guidelines. I can't tell you the number of times we were almost taken out by another vehicle. Sometimes the other vehicle was someone on a scooter. A SCOOTER!!! They just go right into traffic. My usual reaction to this is to suck all of the oxygen out of the car, but since I don't know the people I am riding with, I quietly ducked and tried to make no sound. The pedestrians are almost as bad - they just go and you better not get in their way. The hotel was called Motel 186 and appeared nice. We went in and my local contact conversed with the desk clerk and got me all checked in. We went upstairs and opened the door to a decent sized room with a queen size bed. I thanked my contact for picking me up and I went to bed.
When I laid on the bed it was a bit uncomfortable, but I figured my body and mind were so screwed up with the time change that it was just discomfort that would go away with a good night's sleep. The next morning I got up and went to breakfast. It's funny how we Americans always assume that breakfast will be eggs, bacon, hash browns. This wasn't the case - it was fried rice (the only thing I recognized) and a bunch of other tasty dishes. I gave my ticket to the attendant and began to fill a plate. I tried the majority of items - except those that seemed scary. For those of you that don't know me- scary means lots of vegetables or spices. The last item was a watery substance that looked like it had rice in it. All of the items were very good and at 10am my local contact arrived in a cab to take me to work.
The cab had a plastic barricade just around the driver. As we drove to the office, they had an animated conversation in Chinese and occasionally the driver would start laughing at someone that just cut him off. We arrived at the office and I got set up in a conference room and was getting settled when a group of people walked in. There were 7 total, my local contact and the 6 people I will be training for the next two weeks. I was slightly overwhelmed but they all sat down and we began chatting about what they had already learned. For the next several hours, I worked on items and explained what I was doing while I did it. About 11:45 we decided it was lunch time and trundled over to a large building that holds a cafeteria that serves all of the buildings in the area. There were tons of people.
The cafeteria has a long line of food you can grab like any cafeteria, but in this case it's all Chinese food. I grabbed several items and we all went to sit down and eat. For the second time in a day I had rice. I don't think I have ever had rice twice in one day. There were several other dishes that varied in spice and color. Most were good - one lit my head on fire and all around me laughed.
That evening several of my team took me to a Chinese restaurant (not sure of the name in English) where we had several dishes that were very good, but nothing like what we have in the States. Finally I hit my hotel and went to bed. When I went to lay down all I could think was how hard the bed was. I lifted the sheet and realized why, it was only a box spring. There was no mattress or cushion. I was able to fall asleep, but found it fitful.
The next morning I stepped out into the hall to find workmen hammering holes in the walls of the rooms down the hall. There was a fine dust everywhere. I made my way to the front desk where I tried to explain my problem with the bed. No one on duty spoke English so they ended up calling my local contact. Somehow in the conversation it was determined the the older man working the front desk would go up to the room with me and investigate. We walked up the stairs to find the layer of dust a lot thicker and piles of plaster on the floor. When we got to the room the man walked into the bathroom and turned on the shower and motioned for me to feel the water. I shook my head and motioned for him to come to the bed. He understood but then in sweeping hand movements made it clear that they didn't have anything to fit the bed in that room.
More to come including photos.